Inequity Grows: The Richest 20 Now Own More Than Half The Population

Written by on December 3, 2015 in Economy with 10 Comments
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'How much is enough? How long will people stand for these atrocious inequalities?' (Image: Institute for Policy Studies)

‘How much is enough? How long will people stand for these atrocious inequalities?' (Image: Institute for Policy Studies)

By Dariel Garner | Common Dreams

America’s richest 20 people own more than the bottom half of America – 152 million people combined. That is just one of the startling revelations in a new report, Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us, just released by the Institute for Policy Studies.


Wealth inequality has reached new heights. The wealthiest 100 people now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States. Among the Forbes 400, but not in the top 100, just two individuals are African American—Oprah Winfrey and Robert Smith.

Related Article:Annual Income of 100 Richest People Enough to End Extreme Global Poverty Four Times Over

The report also finds that the wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population. Only 5 Latinos from 3 families are part of the Forbes 400

This tremendous concentration of wealth has been largely created since the 1970’s. It can be un-created. The report makes several recommendations for immediate and longer-term action.

The first requirement is to stop the flight of capital. Over 8 trillion dollars is now held overseas in tax havens and secret investment accounts. No one knows the exact amounts but it is certain that the funds are increasing rapidly.

Related Article:Offshore Secrets: 100 of UK’s Richest People Concealing Billions in Offshore Tax Havens


Secondly, the tax loopholes that have been created by the corporate and political elite must be plugged and the rates paid must be much higher for the rich. We need to see how unjust and how unfair the 76,000-page IRS tax code has become. We must make it impossible for Warren Buffet (number 2 on the Forbes 400) to pay income tax at a lower rate than his secretary.

The report also proposes a direct tax on wealth to break up the concentration of wealth and generate trillions of dollars in new revenue to invest in wealth building opportunities for working families.

With a combined worth of $2.34 trillion, the Forbes 400 own more wealth than the bottom 62 percent of the country combined, a staggering 194 million people. The wealth of just those 400 people, divided amongst all the 115 million households in America would add over $20,000 to the wealth of every family, while more than doubling the wealth of typical African-American, Latino, Native American, poor white and Asian-American families.

Related Article: Secrets of the .001%: 6 Things You Should Know About the $21 Trillion the World’s Richest People Are Hiding In Tax Shelters

How much is enough? How long will people stand for these atrocious inequalities? Those are questions each of us must ask ourselves . . . and then act on those answers. Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us begins to chart the course to recovering the dignity and the wealth that has been taken from so many of us if we listen, learn and act.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.

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  1. 1402952466610993@facebook.com' Where there is love there is life says:

    You are a perfect soul. You know more than you think. You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with the world can throw at you.

  2. 10153248694359646@facebook.com' Alison Alcock says:

    Not that any of it will matter if any one listened to National Radio yesterday morn?? Several scientist talking about and the pope announcing that Dooms day is here not coming and that governments need to tell is we are in Catastrophic times NOW.. but we will fiddle why Rome burns and that does include me because hell i grew up wanting and having as much as I could get but these ….THEY GREW UP TO TAKE IT ALL

  3. 972625236123454@facebook.com' Erik Albert says:

    If they can get away with it, it’s because you let them.

  4. 10204712300345414@facebook.com' Mayor Jim says:

    ??Cancer can… Please help us spread this message to save my 39 yrs old brother father of 3. Watch, listen and please share

    My brother needs an emergency surgery in order to have a chance at beating cancer n’ death. Stage 4 and the liver levels are too high for chemo or survey to be a option.

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  5. 10207450573241624@facebook.com' Cindy Howard says:

    yep we are overcharged on the items that make them this wealthy, profits are out of hand when we have homeless and people eating pasta at every meal

  6. 1056655957712266@facebook.com' Karen Grindstaff says:

    Someone has to fund Satan’s war.

  7. 883880905033681@facebook.com' Alex Vikoulov says:

    #BernieSanders on #incomeinequality We should implement #basicincome policies like many countries in Europe and stop spending 20% of GDP on far-off wars! https://youtu.be/VePpQBCbKBw

  8. 10203945785644862@facebook.com' Darren Simpson says:

    152 million people? Ya might wanna check that #.

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